Moving Past Gender Labels

I’ve always found myself stressing about what “category” I fit into; I felt that if I didn’t fit into a specific one, I would have no belonging. It took me years of struggling with my sexuality and gender to realize that labels are only there to confuse us. 

In the span of a year, I’ve cut my hair from being down to my butt to having “boyshort” hair. People were quick to say “you’re a REAL lesbian now.” Well, am I? Can’t I be into women without being labeled? There have been multiple times where I’ve been misgendered but didn’t even care; gender is really only there to confuse us… so quite frankly, I don’t care what I am referred to as. 

Labels constrict us more than help us. Think about it, the main reason that we categorize ourselves is so that other people know “what” we are so they can feel comfortable with us so that we can feel comfortable with ourselves. But I’ve realized that the best way to feel comfortable with yourself is to just be yourself. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do something because it’s not what “women usually do.”  Don’t hold out on dressing how you want to out of fear of how others will look at you. Don’t try to be something you’re not just so you can fit in one category or another. The best way to live your life for you is to live it how you want to, not how labels want you to live it.

For me, the best way to be myself is to not really give into the binary-- which in itself has its own label. I’ve come to this realization recently in thinking about how little I conform to gender. It’s not that I feel uncomfortable being called a woman, I own it. But there’s no wrong way to be a woman (or a man, or to identify outside of these categories). So just be you. Forget the labels, and do what you like, because then everything will fall into place.